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New online whistleblower complaint form available for workers

California workers may be interested to learn that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a revised whistleblower complaint form online. According to the announcement made by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, the online form allows whistleblowers to file their complaints quickly and safely.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are required to ensure that their workplaces are as safe and healthful as possible. However, some employers attempt to retaliate against employees who report dangerous, unsafe or unhealthy workplaces. Because employees are protected under OSHA's whistleblower statutes, a worker who experiences an adverse action after reporting the workplace condition can file a complaint. These adverse actions can range from denying overtime, blacklisting, laying off, denying benefits, reducing pay or hours and failing to hire or rehire a worker.

If workers experience adverse actions or retaliation from an employer, they have between 30 and 180 days to file their complaints. The updated online form helps workers fill out the forms by having them answer a series of questions in English or Spanish. The form also includes pop-ups that give information on agencies other than OSHA that may assist with the worker's particular circumstances.

Even though there are laws that are meant to protect workers, not all employers follow them. In some cases, this could cause an employee to suffer, especially if he or she is retaliated against for reporting health or safety concerns. However, a whistleblower does have certain protections that allow him or her to seek compensation in the event that the employer retaliates due to the complaint. An employment law attorney could help an employee hold the employer accountable.

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